Pregnancy is an uncertain time. Throw in a global pandemic and a stay-home quarantine notice and you may be feeling frazzled nerves sucking that infamous pregnancy glow right out of your skin.
As an expecting mum, you need to do whatever you can to stay calm and collected because whatever you feel, the baby feels in utero. Stress and anxiety are also proven to lower your immune system, and we need yours to be at its strongest to fight off any possible infection. Here are 16 ways to help you destress and shine on through these challenging times.
- “This too shall pass”
If you already have other kids, you’ll know this phrase far too well. ‘This too shall pass’ encompasses the patience, love, determination and the all-knowing that dwells in each of us when we transition into motherhood. And it will pass.
Just remind yourself on a daily basis that this is a temporary situation. The kids will return to school, the toilet paper will be back in stock, your partner will return to the office – and strangely enough you may even miss the days when everyone was cramping your style at home, relying on you for every single thing much like when they were babies.
The world will return to normal soon, even if it will be a new version of normal, which let’s be honest the world really needed anyway.
2. Daily meditation
It’s important to make time every day to connect with the universal consciousness even when we’re not in the middle of a pandemic. If you’re new to meditation, spend just 5 minutes daily in silence, breathing through your nostrils and focusing only on your in and out breaths. With time, extend your practice gradually to 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, and if you can to 20 minutes.
A mother once said to me, “Are you crazy? You want me to spend 20 minutes doing nothing? I don’t have time for that!”
To which I answered, “If you say you can’t make time to spend time sitting quietly without distractions for 20 minutes, it means you really need to be meditating for 40 minutes.”
Although it may seem like ‘doing nothing’, sitting in stillness is actually the healthiest thing we can be doing for our physical bodies, our mind and our soul. It brings our energy and our vibrations back to equilibrium by connecting with the field of consciousness that is all around us. We need to strengthen our immune systems so we can fend off disease, and meditation is the easiest way to do so.
If you are feeling extra anxious about the safety and health of your family, repeat over and over again in mediation: “My family is safe. My family is healthy.”
Let this be your mantra during this challenging time. The more you say it whilst in a heightened awareness, the more your mind, body and energy will truly start to believe it. And this belief is what will keep you all safe.
3. Connect with nature
If you’re not on lock-down at home, try to get outside and bathe in nature. Go to the forest or sit under a beautiful tree in the park and let its energy envelope you. Mother Nature’s energy has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, and even heal. Bathe in her awesomeness for as long as you can.
4. Take flower essences
Flowers have incredible healing properties, as I recently discovered. Purchase a blend that focuses on love or keeping stress away, which will be great to keep both you and your baby relaxed and at peace right now.
5. Get busy smudging!
Not as cheeky as it sounds, smudging means to use incense smoke to cleanse any negative energies in your space. I like to use white sage, which is a Native American incense that has been used to cleanse energies for centuries and has antimicrobial properties, which can keep bacteria, viruses and fungi away. You can purchase some easily online.
I light the sage wand and walk around my entire house, letting the sage smoke fill all the corners of every room while I repeat over and over with conviction: “I cleanse this house of any negative energy and fill it with love, light and positivity.”
Once you’ve finished your smudging ritual, open your windows and doors and let the fresh air in.
White sage is also great for meditation and can help heighten your intuition and relieve stress – all things a pregnant mama needs right now!
I practice hypnobirthing, and Marie Mongan’s Rainbow Relaxation audio is a great one to bring me to a place of total calm, like the state I strive for during labour. Another favourite is Michael Sealey’s self-hypnosis audios, which are available online for free. Use them daily to cultivate a deep sense of calm and serenity – and even to help you sleep better!
7. Get kids to help with cooking to keep them busy
If you have other kids and they’re stuck indoors, get them involved in your daily meal preparations. Decide what you’re going to make together, making sure it’s nourishing as well.
8. Sleep early and take your magnesium
Easier said than done, I know, but try to get yourself into the habit of turning in early. Instead of bingeing on Netflix shows before bed, read, listen to a self-hypnosis audio, or meditate. Take a magnesium supplement half an hour before turning out the lights. You’re going to be up three times a night anyway with the urge to empty your bladder or to get comfortable, so the earlier you sleep, the more sleep you’ll get.
9. Check news once a day max!
It’s easy to get carried away with the constant news updates and statistics from around the world, but too much of this will only heighten your anxiety. Get your partner or friend to check the news for you and just tell you what you need to know. If your government has an update service, subscribe to that only. This will ensure you’re only getting the information you need.
10. Go for short walks to get fresh air
Nothing is better for you right now than fresh air, and the silver lining to this pandemic is that the air has never been cleaner! Get your most supportive trainers on and go for a walk around the block, preferably in the early morning or at night to stay cool. If you’re on home quarantine, walk around your back garden or in your communal condo yard.
11. Spend time connecting with unborn baby.
It’s so important to forge a healthy bond with your little one while she’s in utero. Speak with her regularly, listen to music together, treat her as though she were already in your world.
Here are some other tips on how to do so.
12. Manage anxiety from family and friends
If your parents or friends are sending you scaremongering articles on a daily basis, ask them kindly to stop. You know it’s coming from a place of good intention, but information overload is not doing you or your baby any good. You have enough information and being pregnant comes with its own barrage of anxieties – you don’t need any more!
13. Journal. It really helps!
If you don’t already do so, keep a journal to scribe your daily experiences, thoughts, angsts, happinesses, dreams – anything that comes to mind. Journaling is the easiest way to direct revelations and is a great way to relieve any pent-up tensions that may be dwelling inside.
14. Turn up the zen music
Any time you’re starting to feel that anxiety rise in you, fill your house with the sounds of zen. What particularly works for me have been the sounds of the sitar or the hang. Any music that makes you take a deep breath and helps you relax and smile are perfect.
15. Donate to help others
As much as I’m sure you’d love to be outdoors volunteering to help others, right now is not the time for you to be among strangers. Find out what great local initiatives are working hard to help those most vulnerable during this time and donate whatever you can to help their cause. The more you give, the more you will receive – and you’ll rest better knowing you’re doing your part to help others who really need it.
16. Take a deep breath. It’s out of your control.
A lot of things feel out of your control during pregnancy and unfortunately this is just one more thing that we have to add to this list. All you can really do right now is practice extra good personal hygiene and social distancing. If you’re already doing this, then rest assured knowing you’re doing all the right things, mama. This too shall pass…